When you come across bloggers who have an affinity for your brand, many pros make the mistake of trying to score a onetime mention.

The goal with blogger outreach is not a brand mention or product placement but rather an ongoing relationship with bloggers.

Now that we got that out of the way, an ongoing relationship and advocacy is the result of a mutually beneficial relationship. Before you reach out to bloggers, put yourself in their shoes and determine what you can offer them that would make both sides feel compensated and comfortable with the exchange that results in word of mouth recommendations for your brand.

The following are the primary types of ways to compensate bloggers. For many who take part in this ongoing process, compensation is ongoing as well and may be a combination of the following.

Payment

First and foremost and by far most obviously, bloggers usually prefer cash for posts. Now remember, nothing is black and white, especially bloggers. So there are the handful that don’t ever take cash for a post. But, the majority of bloggers who work with brands prefer paid for posts.

It makes sense if you think about it. It takes a lot of time to curate an audience, produce good content and stay engaged with their networks. It’s nice to be compensated for all of this effort, especially if this effort is helping your brand to sell a product or service.

Look at it this way, if you want them to invest in your brand with their word of mouth recommendations, you should reciprocate that investment in their blog…

Some worry that paid for posts lead to insincere or less trusted posts. You can avoid this by reaching out to bloggers who are already a niche fit with your brand. Maybe they’ve mentioned your brand in a positive light in the past? You can find bloggers who have written about your brand previously within seconds if you’re a GroupHigh user by using the post content filter.

Product from Your Brand

The effectiveness of this tactic depends on a few factors. First of all what is the monetary value of your free item and is it truly useful to the blogger? Second, how much of a reach does the blogger have? Some of the “bigger bloggers” require more compensation than a product.

At any rate, offering a free product from your brand is great to spread brand awareness and a great way to introduce your brand to the blogger.

The most effective way I’ve seen this done is when fashion brands let a blogger pick something out with no string attached and see if it elicits a post or not.

Sending free product is also a good way to nurture brand advocacy. Maybe you put all bloggers that you’ve paid for posts in the past on a list and send them free products from your brand—either new releases or items before they’re released to the public to make the blogger feel like part of your brand.

Content

This tactic is working less and less. But, it’s not dead, so if guest posting is your strategy just make sure you do it tactfully.

When emailing the bloggers for content placement make sure you reference a post, a post topic they often right about or a piece of information from their about me page that makes the blogger realize you have actually taken a look at their blog. Explain, briefly, why their audience would like your piece of content.

Offer to promote it on your own digital channels and promise a piece of exclusive content.

Keep in mind that some  bloggers who take guest posts also require payment for placement of your content.

Something Exclusive

The best way to form a lasting relationship with a blogger while simultaneously acquiring an awesome post is to offer them something exclusive.

It can be an interview with your CEO or a sneak peek of your new product or service. It can be an article of clothing that only gets released to a handful of influencers. The possibilities or endless but the results are the same—a lasting relationship and the blogger feeling like they are part of your brand.

And keep in touch with bloggers. Allow them to have a say or contribute an opinion about changes happening in your company or about your products.

Whether you’re offering cash, free stuff, exclusive information or awesome content—keep in mind how much time and effort a blogger puts in to their blog as well as how valuable their word of mouth recommendations are and how engaged their audience is. When considering these factors come up with something that is truly fair and creates a mutually beneficial relationship.

Is there a way you think works best to compensate bloggers? Share your opinions in the comments section below and cheers to a great discussion!